Gov. Doug Burgum released the following statement today after the Biden administration extended restrictions on nonessential travel at the U.S.-Canada border for at least a month, until Aug. 21. The decision comes two days after Canada announced it would reopen its border to vaccinated U.S. citizens for nonessential travel on Aug. 9.
“After months of harmful and unnecessary delays, these border restrictions have now crossed the line from precautionary to preposterous,” Burgum said. “Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination rate has surpassed our own, yet the Biden administration continues to stand in the way of a long-overdue reopening of the border with our closest ally and trading partner. Even the co-chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus – a member of the president’s own party – called this decision ‘illogical’ and noted that the administration has failed to deliver on its promise in January to provide a border reopening plan within 14 days.
“Our best defense against the Delta variant is safe, effective vaccines, which remain free and available to U.S. and Canadian citizens alike,” Burgum added. “Keeping the border closed to travelers won’t substantially drive vaccination rates up, but it will continue to hold the economy down and hurt communities that depend on cross-border activity, including North Dakota’s retail and tourism industries as well as friends and family members separated by border restrictions for more than 16 months. It’s our hope the current administration pays as much attention to the actual security of the southern border as it does to the unnecessary restrictions at the northern border.”
The North Dakota Department of Health this week reminded the public of the importance of prevention measures and vaccinations to reduce the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as the Delta variant of COVID-19 has recently emerged as the dominant strain in the United States.